They say when you’re onto a good thing and living in alignment with your values and your purpose that the Universe supports you. I think this was the case with meeting Australian cricketer Brett Lee at the end of last year, right at the time I was gaining support and approval for the Happywhenfit Youth Health Awards.

Another passion of mine outside of the health realm is music. In December last year I was at a gig performing when I met Brett who was staying at the venue whilst on a Junior cricket tour where he was supporting his son. I’ll be honest, I knew who Brett was, but I have never been a huge cricket follower, so it was his kind, approachable energy that got me talking to him and then a realisation of a shared passion for both music and kids. That night after the gig, the staff of the venue all pulled chairs up and joined in with Brett and I as we played music and sang all of the old classics (Creedence, Paul Kelly, Elvis, Jimmy Barnes, Crowded House - to name a few).

I was blown away at his talent and his clear love for music. So much so, that I lent him my Maton guitar to take with him on the bus trip the next day with the kids so that they could have a sing along on the way to their cricket game. My guitar is my pride and joy, I saved up 10 years worth of babysitting money to buy it, but I had this innate sense of trust and respect for this man I had just met but whom I already felt a sense of friendship and connected values with. I’m pleased to say the Maton came back safely in one piece.


It took all of my courage to speak to him about Happywhenfit. I had been busting to tell him all about it, however, I didn’t want him to feel like I was trying to take advantage of his kindness or success by asking him to hear my vision. We all start somewhere though and I knew as a sportsperson, health advocate and dad, he would appreciate what I was trying to achieve for Youth health across Australia, not only with the awards, but also with the programs.

I shared with him my vision for health education in our schools and communities that will provide youth with positive mentors and healthy life skills to prepare them to transition into adulthood. His response was, “I believe the Happywhenfit Health Awards would be an inspiration to a lot of young people across Australia, and assist them to achieve their dreams. For me, everyone needs a role model and everyone needs to be told sometimes how good they really are”.

I believe the Happywhenfit Health Awards would be an inspiration to a lot of young people across Australia, and assist them to achieve their dreams in life

Two things really stuck with me after meeting Brett. Firstly, the respect I have for anyone who has achieved so much, yet remained so humble, kind and sincere. In the time I spent with him he had so many people approaching him for photos and signatures, and he never once turned anyone away. He would chat with them like they were mates and it was incredibly inspiring to witness.

For me, it was a clear example of the type of leader I want to be and the type of positive mentor that I want to have share in my vision.  

That brings me to my second point, the importance of positive role models and mentors in our kids lives. Brett wasn’t on the cricket tour as coach ‘Brett Lee’, he was there as ‘Dad’, but you could see that people loved him even more for his ability to role switch and make sure that ‘Dad’ was number one priority. 

He played with the kids, spoke with and interacted with the other families and entertained everyone with his music. His core values were so evident - family, health and wellbeing, community and giving back. I thought how powerful this was, his ability to make those values speak so clearly in all of his actions to anyone he encountered, regardless how long the interaction was.

This for me, was the clearest example of what a positive role model looks like, someone who lives, contributes and inspires others, simply by being their authentic self. It’s a powerful message that I want to share with our Youth and one that I feel could be shared through the Happywhenfit Health Awards, which is why I had to ask Brett for his support.

Since meeting Brett, I have been actively promoting the first Happywhenfit Youth Health Ambassador Awards in my own community, Bunbury, Western Australia. The nomination period has just recently closed and I will be presenting Bunbury with a positive young male and female youth health ambassador during Youth week, which I am so excited about! My goal is to see these awards Australia wide, creating stronger connections between school, home and community health by recognising, encouraging and rewarding the health behaviours of our youth. Brett believes that “everyone needs a role model and everyone needs to be told sometimes how good they really are”. I am so proud to have Brett’s support in promoting these awards and getting this positive message out there. Youth are a future generation. They need to be encouraged now to build the foundations of a healthy and active lifestyle so that as they transition into adulthood they continue to make choices that promote good health and wellbeing, allowing them to flourish into their full potential.

For me, everyone needs a role model and everyone needs to be told sometimes how good they really are

I have always been passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. As I have matured, I have experienced equal pleasure in not only living a healthy lifestyle, but sharing the message to help others. “It’s wonderful to see your passion for helping people, but more importantly being able to assist people to help themselves”, Brett said. Being healthy feels good, but helping others lights me up inside. I truly want to make a difference to the health of our kids and communities. I believe it starts by establishing strong connections between our schools, homes and communities and educating our parents, teachers and families in how to support these relationships by being positive role models themselves.

Health education that has the opportunity to be integrated and practiced in all environments becomes meaningful and full of purpose. If we can give kids relatable and experience driven strategies for their health and wellbeing, then I believe we can empower a generation with the tools to make positive change for themselves and their communities.

The Happywhenfit awards are not just for the elite sports person or high achiever, they are for all the kids out there trying their best to make healthy choices with what they have and to be able to recognise where they can seek support from their communities and mentors to break any barriers preventing them from achieving their health goals.

I want these awards to show the power that can be had in the true sense of the word ‘community’ - connectedness, giving back, support networks, positive relationships, purpose. Everyone deserves the right to be happy and healthy and it is my mission to make sure that this is the case.

It’s wonderful to see your passion for helping people but more importantly being able to assist people to help themselves.

Thankyou Brett for your support in getting this important message and vision out there. I am so excited to see what Happywhenfit can achieve for the health and wellbeing of Australian kids and communities.

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Danae Cornford